On September 7, 2022, Alaska Watchman reported that a school psychologist within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District “is using his position to encourage educators at several elementary schools to secretly affirm students who believe they are gay, bi-sexual or transgender.” The news outlet explains that this psychologist splits his time among several elementary schools in the district. On September 6, he reportedly sent an email to teachers stating that he had “some more laminated rainbow safe space stickers if anyone would like one or two.” He then stated: “I’m offering these every year, so get used to it.”
He then explained in the email who should display a “safe space sticker”:
Anyone can display a Safe Space Symbol to show their allyship to the LGBTQ community, and to promote LGBTQ visibility. You do not have to be an expert in LGBTQ identity to display a Safe Space Sticker. However, teachers who display the Safe Space Sticker should be prepared for students to approach them about LGBTQ identity. By displaying a Safe Space Sticker, you are telling students that you will listen to them, affirm their chosen or shared names, pronouns, and other identities, and can refer them to someone in the school who they can talk to more.
The school psychologist also promoted GLSEN in his email to teachers and reportedly included a flyer from the organization. The flyer discourages teachers from discussing the gender identity of students to parents: “Although it may be hard to believe, there are students whose emotional and physical safety were jeopardized when school staff outed them to other students and even family members.”
The organization GLSEN is known for promoting LGBTQ issues to young children. GLSEN states on its website that “while many LGBTQ+-inclusive school supports begin in middle or high school, it is critical for elementary schools to establish a foundation of respect and understanding for all people.” The organization has also appeared to show support for children taking “hormone replacement therapy” to transition to another gender:
Upon birth, we are typically categorized into one of two genders (boy or girl) depending on how our genitals are read. Throughout our lives, however, our many bodily characteristics work together to create a unique path of development, causing some of us to grow really tall, and others to remain short, or some of us to grow hair under our armpits and legs, while others remain bare. While this development often happens on its own during puberty, this change can also be administered through medicine, such as hormone replacement therapy. Since our society often conflates our bodies (or genitalia) with our gender identity, it is critical that we allow space for people to self-identify.